21 September 2023,   16:11
Biden meets with heads of Finland, Sweden in show of support for NATO membership

President Joe Biden met with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland and warmly welcomed their applications for NATO membership, which will strengthen our collective security.

At this historic moment for both Finland and Sweden, the President underscored his commitment to support both countries as they seek formal NATO accession, including by working with NATO Allies and Congress to welcome them into the Alliance as quickly as possible. The leaders also discussed their ongoing cooperation on shared global challenges, and their commitment to continued strong support for Ukraine.

Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO come in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which sparked security concerns across the region. The historically neutral nations’ bids to join the alliance mark a dramatic evolution in European security and geopolitics, and the moves have been met with resistance from Russia and Turkey, a NATO member.

“Let me be clear: New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation. It never has been. NATO’s purpose is to defend against aggression. That’s its purpose, to defend”, - Biden said.

The President argued Russia’s war on Ukraine has made the military alliance “stronger” and “more united. Today, there is no question, NATO is relevant. It is effective. And it is more needed now than ever”, - he said.